Thursday, September 29, 2016

Preaching to the Corpse

Title: Preaching to the Corpse
Author: Roberta Isleib
Published: December 4th 2007 by Berkley
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 238 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Advice Column Mystery #2

Who knew that searching for a new pastor would be so difficult and so deadly? Dr. Rebecca Butterman had no intentions of becoming a member of the pastoral search committee, but when Lacy Bailes is found dead and an intern pastor is sent careening down a greased staircase, Rebecca takes it upon herself to not only find out why the last pastor left suddenly, but also discover who wanted Lacy out of the way, and in so doing, finds a couple of secrets among these upstanding citizens.

This is the second book in the Advice Column Mysteries series and unfortunately, it is no better than the first. I found both of the books to be on the uninspired side and though Roberta Isleib tries to create interest in her characters, they come out to be on the dull side. She tries to add in a couple of sparks between Rebecca and Detective Meigs who we found out in the last book is married, but still there is nothing there. Maybe this new Bob person will spark something in book number three.

I am not going to completely discount this series since there is still one more book, I will read it but at the same time, if it is like the previous two, I will be glad when it is over.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Woman of God

Title: Woman of God
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published: September 26th 2016 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Genre: Fiction
Source: My thanks to Amazon Vine for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

It still amazes me how much I enjoyed this book. Granted, it does stretch the superhero capabilities of a main character and the religious reality of today, but this is why they call it fiction.

Brigid Fitzgerald is not your usual protagonist. She is a physician, from a scarred upbringing, making life and death decisions during her work with Kind Hands, an organization that brings medical care to war torn regions. South Sudan is a horrible place where life has no meaning and the warring factions make all the rules. Where the unsterile conditions are just as hazardous as the surgeries that are being performed on the refugees.

The reader is taken on a whirlwind ride where loss is all too common in Brigid’s life. From the aid workers who have just arrived at the camp to a marriage and child to Berlin then back to Boston. Throughout her journey, she questions what her purpose is and if she meant to be in the middle of such turmoil. Faith has never been easy, but what could God’s plan be that is filled with so much grief? She tries to turn her back on God but each person who enters her life bears an answer forcing her to be in constant struggle with her faith.

In walks James Aubrey – a priest unjustly accused of a crime and threatened by the archdiocese. When he can no longer take the abuse from the narrow thinking guidelines, he breaks off and forms his own place of worship. Breaking centuries old rules, the community and eventually the world, flock to his place of worship.

This is where the book is going to lose some readers. Reality is stretched here but once again, that is why they call it fiction.

Brigid makes a life altering decision and in doing so, she once again is forced to ask “why”. As I said, her life is not easy, but there was always a plan. Holy visions and mystical experiences have been a part of Brigid’s life since her time in the Sudanese desert, now it is time to see what it all meant and how it has led to a private audience with the pope.

A tale of perseverance, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro has given their readers a unique book that is not their usual. Entertaining some and irritating others, this book will definitely give readers something to think about.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Trial

Title: The Trial
Author: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Published: July 5th 2016 by BookShots
Format: eBook, Paperback Pgs 110
Genre: Police Procedural
Series: Women's Murder Club #15.5

At least Lindsay Boxer is not the sniveling annoyance that she was in the last book – The Affair. This is one of those rare occurrences when a half book redeemed a character and repaired mistakes made in a previous book.

Kingfisher, the head of a drug cartel that was supposedly dead, has made a sudden reappearance and Lindsay is on his radar. He has made the mistake of killing two women in a crowded bar and with both witnesses and evidence it does not look like he will get away with it this time. No one is taking what this man can do for granted and even from behind cell doors, he is able to make his wishes known.

With one juror dead and a shootout in the streets, the San Francisco Police Department needs this to go away fast and the only person that can get to him is his estranged wife. Will she convince the Kingfisher to end this bloodshed or has a new turf war just begun?

James Patterson’s Bookshots fall somewhere between a short story and a novella. You have to know the characters to understand their interplay, yet, the story can hold its own. They may not appeal to everyone, but for me, this one worked and thankfully, Lindsay has been able to rebuild some of her backbone.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Temptation Ridge

Title: Temptation Ridge
Author: Robyn Carr
Published: March 1st 2009 by Mira Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Genre: Romance
Series: Virgin River #6

When it comes to the Virgin River series, I have to take a big deep breath and remember that this is just fiction, that a town like this does not exist anywhere other than the deep imaginings of Robyn Carr, yet there is a part of me that wishes that it did. No town or its people are this perfect. No town comes together in the ways that the Virgin River folks do and more importantly, no men are this perfect. Actually, no women are either, nevertheless, I still come back to this series book after book.

What I enjoy the most about this series are the minor characters in the previous books, tend to make a giant splash somewhere down the line. This time, Shelby McIntyre, the general’s niece, comes to Virgin River while deciding on which college to apply to for nursing school. She is a young twenty-five since she has spent the last five years caring for her invalid mother and has literally been locked away from the world. In addition to her big education plans, she wants to find the perfect man, she even has a list, so when Luke Riordan shows up, and does not check off even one item on this menu, she decides to jump into some very rugged waters.

Luke is a bit jaded and with his experiences as both a Blackhawk pilot and one-night stand expert, an innocent girl is not on his to do list. He knows that they are wrong for each other, but then again, the heart knows what the heart wants and when Shelby opens a locked door to him, there is no stopping this duo.

There is sadness in this book when a much-loved character dies, the town is left reeling, but at the same time, it does open the possibility of a new romance and new babies for this town. The usual characters make their appearances and the reader will be glad to know that even with change, Virgin River will remain the same.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Leave Me

Title: Leave Me
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: September 6th 2016 by Algonquin Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 343 pages
Genre: Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Algonquin Books for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

There was no depth to any of the characters in Gayle Foreman’s newest release. When I began the book, I was not sure who I would dislike more, Maribeth for her “oh, poor me” attitude or her husband Jason for his selfishness.

It is obvious from the start that this couple are ill suited for both being parents and for that matter, being married. One is whining over the self-imposed role of having to do everything and the other seems to be completely unaware of what is happening within their home. It is not until a near fatal heart attack and family abandonment when role reversals are realized and the past is hit head on do the two habitants get a clearer understanding of what brought them to the point and how they will move forward.

Leave me, both being the title of the book and the reality that you might have to leave who you think you are, to arrive at the person that you need to be, scarcely scratches the surface of what could have been a deeper study of family realities in the aftermath of a near tragedy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Diva Serves High Tea

Title: The Diva Serves High Tea
Author: Krista Davis
Published: June 7th 2016 by Berkley
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Domestic Diva Mystery #10

I am confident that you are going to need more than a cup of tea to keep this twisted tale straight. Krista Davis has done her best to create as much confusion as possible and the play on names only adds to the story.

With two new shops in town, tea and antique, Sophie Winston and her friends have a nice place to hang out and gossip; little do they know that both will bring a new mystery to Old Town, Virginia - a charming place that does have its fair share of murder and secrets.

What begins with a break in at Natasha’s house ends with relationships broken all because of love. I know that sounds strange, but this tenth installment of the Domestic Diva series has the whole gang investigating the poisoning death of a man that has more than one skeleton in his closet.

I do admit that I had gotten confused with some of the characters and for some reason I had thought a couple of them were much younger than they really were. Add in the usual craziness and subterfuge and you have a better than average cozy mystery to sort out before your pot of tea turns cold.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Releases

An Obvious Fact
Craig Johnson
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 13th 2016 by Viking
Series: Walt Longmire #12

In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend Henry Standing Bear are called to Hulett, Wyoming—the nearest town to America's first national monument, Devils Tower—to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry's '59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt's granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won't stop quoting, "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

The Wonder
Emma Donoghue
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: September 20th 2016 by Little, Brown and Company

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

The Sinner
Amanda Stevens
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: September 27th 2016 by Mira
Series Graveyard Queen #5

I'm a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone.

I've come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I've been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?